Bistros became popular in America after French diplomats visiting the Continental Congress insisted on dining outdoors, breaking Ben Franklin’s time-saving custom of eating while sleeping in the shower. Enjoy European influence with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of European-style bistro fare at The Nora Café and Bakery in Ellicott City. This Groupon is only valid for dinner.
The epicurean engineers at The Nora Café and Bakery sate appetites of all sizes with a diverse menu of nourishing entrees and light café dishes. Mouthwatering jeko jeko drizzles homemade steak sauce over a heaping portion of armenian beefsteak and carrots ($12.99), and overstuffed chicken-marsala ravioli shells practice synchronized diving routines in pools of marsala-wine cream sauce ($11.99). The mediterranean wrap bundles together feta cheese, black olives, pepperoncini, and vegetables in a tomato-tortilla sleeping bag ($7.99), and is the perfect dish to eat by hand or Rube Goldberg fork machine. Handcrafted sicilian pizzas—a meaty triumvirate of sausage, ham, and bacon scattered over a focaccia crust ($9.99 for 10")—encourage sharing and please palates with more well-rounded flavors.
Nora Cafe & Bakery
Inside Nora Cafe & Bakery, housemade cakes and Italian-style cookies gather in the long, sloping pastry cases that line one side of the casual dining room. Referencing generations-old recipes, Nora’s team of bakers craft handmade dough to create fluffy puff pastry, pies, and cakes. The restaurant also serves Italian dinners, with plates of lasagna, spaghetti, and steaks complemented by garlic bread almost as warm as a blanket that’s on fire. The team serves those dishes between bright, orange walls flecked with framed photos, amid a sea of red tables with cushioned chairs.